The following essay was submitted to this site, and we share it to support ongoing discussion on topics that revolve around the theology and use of licensed lay deacons.
Our goal is to provide the one-stop spot for the discussion on Licensed Lay Deacons (LLD) for the following reasons:
1. The NOW District has over 70 LLD’s in service today,
2. We (NOW District staff and Board of Directors) find their supervised ministry a valid and responsible expression of each local church’s identified ministry needs per our congregational polity,
3. There is substantial theological difference in the LCMS regarding the Office of the Public Ministry and how we implement it locally,
4. The Resolution from 2013 Synod Convention on LLD’s asked the Synod President to use “all means at his disposal to promote study and discussion of this vital issue,” and we desire to support that resolution to promote study and discussion, and,
5. We believe further discussion and dialogue (rather than voting) on this specific topic is essential to walking together with a caring spirit for the greater church.
As you may see by perusing the posts/essays/reports on this site, rather than there being a single interpretation held by all confessing Lutherans, there are valid theological differences in the LCMS on the Office of the Public Ministry, the “priesthood of all believers,” and how they interact at the congregational level.
The best way to deal with these is to provide more time for the discussion, and focus on dialogue and the process of discernment. Thank you, Rev. Swan for providing your essay to support this process of group discussion and discernment.